Duvet Dilemma

Q: Got any suggestions to prevent a down comforter insert from sagging to either side of the bed in its duvet cover?  It seems like there should be something that would prevent comforters, particularly down ones, from shifting inside a duvet cover. My cover is crewel and very heavy, so the shifting seems more pronounced. — Jennifer Buckley, Eastchester

A: If you’re talking about the feathers themselves migrating to the edges of the comforter, that’s a problem you can only avoid by buying a comforter with well-stitched baffle boxes holding the down in place. Even the ones with stitched channels allow the feathers to drift—and they will; you know how feathers are.

But if you mean comforter shift, where you wake up with your cover still in position, but the feathery duvet that’s supposed to be keeping you warm all smooshed in a bunch somewhere inside, there’s help.

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First, products: Bed Bath & Beyond sells a couple of gizmos. One is called Duvet Grips, little plastic “donuts” that supposedly don’t harm the fabric and attach in seconds to keep the corners of your comforter and its cover connected. According to a few online reviewers I ran across, it doesn’t take long for the donuts to pop off again. They also may not work on a heavy fabric. More efficient are Comforter Clips, which are bigger bits of plastic with a foam cover so that you can’t feel them once they’re in place, and which (according to another handy-dandy online thread), do the job, although a few users suggest clipping not just the corners, but mid-points as well. Each of these costs just a few bucks.

What I did with mine, though, partly because I have little faith in plastic products but also because I have that exhausting Martha Stewart gene that compels me to rush around crafting things, was to sew twill tapes, about seven inches long, to each corner of the down comforter, with another one in the middle at the top, and a couple along each side. Then I sewed corresponding tapes to the inside of the cover. This is a sewing job that requires very little skill, but, if you have no inclination for it, you can probably get the tailor at your dry cleaner to do it.

With the cover inside out, tie the tapes at the top to those at the top of the comforter. Then start turning the cover right-side-out over the comforter, bit by bit, tying the tapes as you go. Make bows rather than knots—they’re easier to pull undone when it comes time to launder the cover. Having the comforter and cover tied together also makes it much easier to make the bed—no more lumps and empty corners.

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